2020 Wildflower Season: Another Early Year for Central Texas

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Pressroom

Bluebonnet bloom

A few bluebonnets bloom as early as Feb. 1 at the Wildflower Center, with peak season to come through March and April. PHOTO K. Angel Horne.

Spring flowers are beginning to bloom at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and throughout Central Texas a bit earlier than is typical. By Feb. 1, a few flowers could be found on bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), golden groundsel (Packera obovata), Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana) and Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) at the Center. Bluebonnets and greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium) are also popping up on area roadsides.

Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the Center’s director of horticulture, says, “If we keep having 80-degree days, I expect more plants to surge forward and begin blooming.”

However, she says if we get continued bouts of cooler weather, the big bloom days could stay on their standard schedule. She expects iconic species, including bluebonnets, to steadily continue coloring the Center leading into the heart of the season. Bluebonnets generally peak toward the end of March and early April.

Austin has experienced the second warmest winter on record, according to KXAN meteorologist David Yeomans, and these temperate conditions were paired with an absence of hard freezes.

Center experts predict an overall good season for wildflowers. Austin experienced a 50% rainfall deficit in the second half of 2019 followed by average rainfall since January, which is likely to result in a standard but not superior show of blooms. Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts average rainfall and higher than normal temperatures in Central Texas for the coming three months.

Still, even an average wildflower season for Texas is worthy of repeat trips outdoors, and the wildflowers can often surprise.

“Getting out to see the wildflowers is like voting,” says DeLong-Amaya. “Do it early and do it often! Our springs are rich and long enough for several phases – the suite of flowers you see unfolding at any given time, spring through summer, will provide a new experience.”

All the species listed here – and hundreds more – can be discovered at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, with daily guided tours and resources on display to help visitors get to know the state’s native plants.

To explore more iconic blooms, discover recommended scenic drives, and brush up on bluebonnet facts online, visit Texas Wildflower Central at Instagram users can also follow and submit wildflower sightings from around the state through the account @texaswildflowerwatch and using hashtag #txwildflowers2020. The Wildflower Center curates the account with citizen-submitted observations throughout the season.

Photos for media are available upon request. Inquire with K. Angel Horne.

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